Student elections in the state have been banned since 1992-93, following malpractices, campus violence and the death of a student from Mithibai College.
Now, there is increasing demand for the elections to be brought back.
Some colleges in Mumbai, known for politically-aware students, want the elections to resume.
According to them, it is strange that college elections are banned in a democratic society.
“People today cry over why there are no young political leaders in the state. Student elections ensure youth representation and help students understand their rights, and hence bringing them back is necessary,” said Anurag Anand, student, Ruia College.
Not just students, some professors too feel that student elections are extremely important.
“Due to the ban, colleges have become very de-politicised. Look at Jawaharlal Nehru University; they have produced some of the best politically aware youth leaders, something our state lacks,” said Alok Oak, political science faculty at Symbiosis Institute of Liberal Arts, Pune.
With political involvement comes student participation in social causes and political movements, widely popular a few decades ago.
“Students used to be politically-aware back then. Today, people make Facebook pages and ask their friends to ‘like’ it. Is that activism? It is extremely worrisome that our students are not politically aware or motivated,” said Oak.
However, campus violence, which was the major cause for the ban on elections, is the biggest threat to their restarting, feel authorities.
“Students elections were mired in high drama and violence which severely affected academics. I think the current system of nomination, where the college picks out divisional representatives based on academic performance, and who then cast votes for the higher positions, is better,” said Mrudul Nile, head, department of student welfare, Mumbai University (MU).
“Students need elections to represent the student body, which is otherwise not taken seriously. We cannot have a few representatives choosing who should represent us all,” said Ajinkya Gaikwad,student, MU.